Tech giant Facebook is passing details of all of its users to the National Security Agency (NSA), it has been reported.

Privacy campaigner Max Schrems has launched a case against the social giant to force watchdogs to audit personal data allegedly released to US spy bosses by Facebook.

Mr Schrems, argued that the Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, wrongly refused to investigate whistleblower Edward Snowden’s claims that Dublin-based Facebook International had passed on its EU users’ data to the NSA.

While the High Court has not yet provided Schrems with a ruling on his complaint against the Data Protection Commissioner for refusing to investigate Facebook, the case was adjourned pending a reference to the European Court of Justice (CJEU).

In court, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said the evidence suggested that personal data was “routinely accessed on a mass and undifferentiated basis by the US security authorities”.
The judge said that Irish law had effectively been “pre-empted” by EU law, specifically the provisions of a 1995 directive and the 2000 decision establishing the Safe Harbour regime.

The Safe Harbour principles are designed to prevent accidental information disclosure or loss.

It is a streamlined process for US companies to comply with the EU Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data.

Mr Hogan added that if the data protection commissioner cannot look beyond the Safe Harbour decision, “then it is clear that the present application for judicial review must fail.”
The Irish court has asked the Europeanm Court of Justice (CJEU) to examine whether an investigation can be launched in Ireland.

Justice Hogan explained: “For such interception of communications to be constitutionally valid, it would, accordingly, be necessary to demonstrate that this interception and surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals was objectively justified in the interests of the suppression of crime and national security and, further, that any such interception was attended by the appropriate and verifiable safeguards”.

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